Classroom Time Capsule

A story by Anna Bennett from 2020

Classroom Time Capsule

In a darkened, closed off room, usually so loud, busy and full of energy, now sit the remains of a fifth grade classroom.

In every desk, pencils await sharpening, notebooks wait to be filled, and papers lay discarded. On the shelves, books lay still, bookmarks holding a now forgotten chapter or passage. Clipboards are empty, bulletin boards lay slack without the breeze of passing bodies to stir them, and lockers hold the remains of recess games. The air is soundless and heavy behind drawn shades. The room is dark, shuttered. There are no children here to play, to learn, to grow. And so the room simply waits, quiet and still, for them to return.

The teacher’s desk holds ungraded assignments, sticky notes filled with forgotten to-do lists, and test scores that still need analyzing. A library book, once an eagerly enjoyed read aloud, sits silently, overdue and lonely. The whiteboards hold the schedule for the next day that never came, and the calendar at the back boasts of an upcoming field trip that will never be taken. The board is covered in announcements for work that will never be finished, specials that will not be enjoyed, and cafeteria meals that will no longer be served.

We left suddenly, with no warning, and the room now sits as a time capsule to March 12, 2020, the day Covid-19 was first diagnosed in Maine. A place so filled with life now looms large in eerie stillness. It waits, patiently, for the day when we can return, when it will once again serve its purpose.

Anna Bennett